The United States has been fighting with the European Union as a competitor, pushing it towards new painful expansions
Well-known US scientist of politics and sociologist, Senior Research Scholar at Yale University, professor Immanuel Wallerstein was the person, who predicted the break-up of the USSR and the problems, which the USA would experience in the Middle East. Mr. Wallerstein has recently visited Moscow, where he was interviewed by the Vremya Novostei newspaper. Immanuel Wallerstein talked about Russia's possible integration in the European Union and about the ongoing decline of the USA.
The American scientist said in the interview that Russia's economic role in the world would not undergo a significant change during the forthcoming 20 or 30 years. Wallerstein believes, however, that Russia, as well as the majority of middle-developed countries, will be able to improve its global position from the political point of view. Such process already happens in Brazil, India and China. If Russia joins the WTO, it will find its place in the so-called top 20 of world's major states. Brazil, India, South Africa and China established that structure to protect their own interests in disputes with Western Europe and the USA.
Immanuel Wallerstein believes that Russia has formed an informal union with France and Germany. The union became possible on account of the US-led campaign in Iraq. The three countries have common interests and similar views about world affairs. The countries situated between Germany and Russia are not being very friendly towards the latter for historical reasons, Wallerstein believes. Those countries do not want Germany and France to ameliorate and develop relations with Russia. On the other hand, Russia does not depend on Poland, Latvia and not even Ukraine. Moscow has the trump card: its military power and raw materials. In addition, Russia's economic and political roles are far too much important than the roles that the majority of East European states play. Russia can be definitely opposed to the European Union at this point. The EU, however, experiences considerable difficulties after its expansion: results of the recent referendums in France and the Netherlands can serve a perfect example of it. The French voted against the European Constitution because of the EU's expansion, Immanuel Wallerstein said in the interview with the Vremya Novostei newspaper.
The United States has been fighting with the European Union as a competitor, pushing it towards new painful expansions. Great Britain is still regarded as the USA's Trojan horse in Europe. The latest expansion of the European Union has caused too many problems for the organization. The expansion adjourned the solution of another issue of paramount importance in Europe: the establishment of a stronger political structure. It was a hard nut to crack even for 15 members, and it will be a lot harder to do when the number of members is 25. Some European politicians used to say five or seven years ago that one should establish a political structure for old members and then accept new ones. Eastern Europe was eager to join the EU, though. Those states were dreaming of becoming an inseparable part of the civilized European world. Furthermore, they viewed the integration as an efficient anti-Russian step. Germany wanted their annexation for economic reasons; the USA wanted to see the countries of Eastern Europe in the EU as well.
The American professor believes that the European Union will have a lot of problems to deal with during new members' adaptation. Kiev has better chances to find understanding in the EU just because of the fact that Ukraine has fewer enemies in this organization than Russia. Russia started cooperation with the EU and the USA on the base of the joint anti-terrorist struggle. However, Wallerstein concluded, such cooperation has its limits.
Immanuel Wallerstein predicts the forthcoming decline of the American power. According to the scientist, the USA suffers from the crisis, which many other superpowers experienced before: it concentrates too much attention on the military power to the detriment of the economic development. Nevertheless, it is generally believed that the US economy does not give cause for pessimism. Mr. Wallerstein is certain, though, that the USA has already lost the economic competition. The US economic power is presumably focused on the financial field, which suffers from the budgetary shortage and the ongoing spending of the government. The professor does not see the bright future of the US dollar. However, if the American currency collapses, the crash will subsequently ruin a lot of other states. Therefore, a lot of countries try to save the USA from falling, being concerned about lamentable consequences that they might suffer themselves. The economic future of mankind is not about the USA, Immanuel Wallerstein believes.
The professor is known for his skeptical attitude towards the World Trade Organization, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. Criticizing these major financial organizations, Wallerstein gives an example of the Brazilian city of Porto Alegre, which hosted the World Social Forum in 2002, an opposition to the World Economic Forum in Davos. Russia's membership in the WTO is only a question of prestige, Wallerstein thinks. China was similarly striving to become a UN member during the post-war period, and the USSR was eager to become a member of the League of Nations in the 1920s. According to Wallerstein, the WTO does not carry much importance nowadays, although it was meant to play a major economic role in the world. The WTO failed to set forth any significant decisions during the Seattle summit in 1999 and the Cancun summit in 2003 – the trend will most likely last for years.
The IMF spreads neo-liberal policies in the countries, which do not belong to the club of richest states. It is noteworthy that the IMF cannot impose its rules on the USA. It does not raise loans in the IMF – the Fund has no power in the States for this reason. The World Social Forum in Brazil is an attempt to launch a political fight with the forces, which symbolically determine the fate of the world in Davos, Wallerstein said. Russia was represented at the Social Forum in Brazil, although the participation in the Davos Forum would be a lot more prestigious for Russia. The world has reached a point in its development, when a new way is vital.